Are You a Member of the Eat It All Club?

Diane Carbonell's picture
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Are you a victim of the Eat it All thought process that plagues many of us? Are you a member of this not so exclusive club?

Confession time here. I was one of its most faithful members.

Here’s how being a member of that club worked for me:

If the food was in residence on my plate – I definitely needed to eat every last morsel.

If I had paid my hard earned money for that food – I owed it to myself to eat it all.

If someone I knew had prepared the food for me – I needed to consume it because I didn’t want to hurt their feelings.

Right or wrong – those are s some of the reasons I belonged to the Eat it All Club.

Do you ever stop to think about what is behind our “eat it all” mentality? Sometimes I wonder where this desire so many of us have to “eat it all” started, and wonder why it is so difficult to quit the Eat it All club once and for all.

Although I cannot speak for everyone, for me, there were some definite factors in my feeling compelled to Eat it All.

1. When I was a child, I was encouraged, and sometimes threatened, to finish the food on my plate. I got the message from adults in my life that if I did not clean my plate then it was like taking food away from the starving children in Africa. Even as a child I never really understood that logic because I knew that I could not shove the unwanted food on my plate into an envelope and mail it to Africa.

2. I didn’t want to waste money – When I reached adulthood and had an income of my own, I honestly did find it hard to leave food on the table. After all, I paid for it, so I should probably finish it. This often meant that I would eat way beyond the point where I felt full.

3. If I were “allowed” to eat it I would- I feel into this pattern when I was trying to follow a specific diet plan like Richard Simmons or Weight Watchers. If the plan said I could have gingersnap cookies, then I must have them. Of course I never stopped at the recommended one or two cookies – instead I ate the entire box. As an aside, I did learn that too many gingersnaps bothered my stomach and have not eaten gingersnaps in years!

These types of thought patterns made it difficult for me to resign from the Eat it All Club. Even when I decided to lose weight using my own plan (which you can find in my book – shameless plug) I still had to fight the tendency to inhale every speck of food on my plate.

I realize now that these “reasons” for eating everything on my own plate were born of habit and a fruitless attempt at soothing emotions with food.

I discovered that I had to make a conscious decision to eat not only the right amounts of food but also to listen to my body and stop when I was full – even if there was food left on the plate.

If you are following a set program, do you feel compelled to eat every bit of food you can possible have and still stay on your plan? If you are doing your own thing then how do you handle your desire to eat more than you really want?

Here are some tips I did to break this cycle of always cleaning my plate:

  • Decided ahead of time what I would eat in social situations
  • Gave myself permission to say no
  • Thought about every meal in terms of how it met my daily and weekly goals.
  • Planned, planned, planned
  • Left room for unforeseen circumstances

Are you part of the Eat it All club, or have you found a better way? I’d love to hear what challenges you have faced and how you’ve overcome them!

Get more of Diane's posts at Fit to the Finish

Image credit: rockbadger


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